Manchester United breathed new life into their late Champions League push after beating Aston Villa 2-1 to move just six points off fourth place.
Scott McTominay was brought off the bench and scored the winning goal four minutes from time after meeting Diogo Dalot’s superb cross and nodding home.
A defeat for United would have moved them 11 points adrift of the top four but Rasmus Hojlund settled any nerves after tucking home the opener just yards out.
Douglas Luiz’s quick thinking found the equaliser for Villa, however, after the visitors failed to clear their lines from a goalmouth scramble on 67 minutes.
But substitute McTominay later rescued United’s listing campaign and here, Mail Sport‘s IAN LADYMAN has rated both sets of players from Villa Park…
Manchester United kept their Champions League hopes alive after beating Aston Villa
Scott McTominay headed home the winning goal to send United six points off four place
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ANDRE ONANA 8.5
Two fabulous first half saves kept United in front during a spell of intense Villa pressure. Continued in same vein after the break. Starting to look like a United goalkeeper at last.
Andre Onana made several superb saves and is starting to look like a United goalkeeper at last
DIOGO DALOT 6
Struggled with the Villa raids down his side. Too often exposed for pace on the turn. Never found wanting for effort and great cross for the winner.
HARRY MAGUIRE 8
Continuing to enjoy his renaissance at United. Did the simple things well and although he is no longer captain he has emerged as a leader. Superb.
Harry Maguire did the simple things well as he continues to enjoy his United renaissance
RAFAEL VARANE 6
Needed his goalkeeper to help him cover a couple of times in the first half as Villa played quick balls beyond him. Still reads the game terrifically well.
LUKE SHAW 6
Only managed 45 minutes and United will hope he is not badly hurt. Erik Ten Hag needs a settled back four and he needs Shaw to be part of it.
CASEMIRO – 5.5
Needs young Kobbie Mainoo’s legs beside him to do his running. Will improve with more games but here he was not at his best. Too many misplaced passes.
KOBBIE MAINOO 6.5
The find of the season for United and will learn from afternoons like this, when the opposition control large parts of the game. Worked manfully, won plenty of duels but needed help.
Kobbie Mainoo worked manfully in midfield and won duels, but he also needed more help
ALEJANDRO GARNACHO 6.5
Much improved in terms of decision making and final pass. A threat down the United right on the counter. Needs to find that end product more often.
BRUNO FERNANDES 6
Struggled to impact the game as his team found it hard to enjoy extended possession. Needed a better platform behind him.
MARCUS RASHFORD 5.5
Seems engaged once more and threatened with a couple of runs down the left. Fluffed one chance he made for himself. Fitful, though.
RASMUS HOJLUND 7
Goals are flowing now and though he would benefit from better service, he worried Villa here on the counter. Improving.
The goals are flowing for Rasmus Hojlund and he worried Villa when United counter-attacked
VICTOR LINDELOF (on for Shaw 45) 5
Gave ball away with just about first touch and Onana bailed him out. Looked miles off at times.
SCOTT MCTOMINAY (on for Rashford 73mins) 8
Sent on to save the game and won the game. What a header.
JONNY EVANS (on for Hojlund 90mins)
SOFYAN AMRABAT (on for Mainoo 90mins)
EMILIANO MARTINEZ 6
Had no chance with either United opening goal. Strangely, didn’t have that much to do.
MATTY CASH 5.5
An afternoon to concentrate up against Marcus Rashford but was rarely beaten or exposed. Bullied by McTominay for the winner.
Matty Cash was bullied in the air before McTominay nodded United’s winning goal home
DIEGO CARLOS 6
Dealt with the pace of the United attack well. Rarely beaten in the air.
CLEMENT LENGLET 6
Played a part in Villa’s equaliser and looked composed as Villa built play from the back.
ALEX MORENO 6
An important cog in Villa’s attacking machine down the left but struggled at times to contain Alejandro Garnacho in his own half.
BOUBACAR KAMARA 6.5
Powerful and intelligent in midfield. Much of the prompting behind Villa’s thrusts in the attacking third came from him.
DOUGLAS LUIZ 7
Such an important player for Villa. Does the simple things well and keeps the ball moving. Influential. Big chance at 1-1 but couldn’t make firm enough contact.
Douglas Luiz is an important player for Villa and was influential again despite the result
LEON BAILEY 7.5
Dangerous and direct whenever he gets the ball in wide positions. Curled a good chance wide when could have done better during a spell of early Villa dominance.
Winger Leon Bailey was dangerous and direct when he received the ball in wide positions
JACOB RAMSEY 7
Back from injury and looking sharp. Having him in the team will be important in the run-in. Unlucky that Maguire blocked one goal bound shot.
JOHN MCGINN 7.5
First half shot almost broke Onana’s fingers and his passing and prompting oozed intelligence as always. His energy levels rarely dipped. Best passer on the field.
OLLIE WATKINS 6.5
Played Hojlund onside for United opener and should do better than that. Troubled United’s central defensive pairing with his clever darts in and behind them. Will play worse and score.
Ollie Watkins troubled United’s backline and will play worse but still find the back of the net
MOUSSA DIABY (on for Kamara 64mins) 6
Brought freshness but couldn’t make decisive contributions.
YOURI TIELEMANS (on for Bailey 73mins) 6
Should be asking himself why he hasn’t managed to get a place in this team.
LUCAS DIGNE (on for Moreno 87mins) 6
NICOLO ZANIOLO (on for McGinn 87mins) 6